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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

"196                         "   THE GAY GENIUS

have saved from now on, if you can have this done? Buddhism
teaches against the taking of Hves, and among these the killing of
animals that suckle their young and that reproduce by hatching is
considered a most grave offence. How much more serious is the
killing of a human child! We often speak of a sick, suffering child
as 'a poor innocent'; infanticide is truly the killing of the innoceaW
The law provides that only a man who commits murder in his
senile dotage is exempt from the death sentence. How much more
should we regard it as a heinous crime to kill an innocent baby! If
you can save these babies* lives, your merit in heaven will be tea
times greater than for pardoning adult offenders. . . .

"When I was serving in Michow, there was a famine year and
many parents were forced to abandon their children. I was able to
collect funds and obtain several thousand bushels of rice for the
purpose of feeding orphans. Every family that took care of one^
child was given six bushels of rice per month. After a year, the
parents who adopted these orphans loved them as their own children,
and the orphans had found a home, I was thus able to save several
dozen children. This is a very simple thing and easy to do. I have
made bold to bring this matter to your attention because I know I
am speaking to a true friend, and I crave your pardon for the intru-
sion.

To Chu Kangshu [Shouchang],
Chief Magistrate of Ochow."

For his own part, he established a Save-the-Child Association, and"
made his neighbour Ku, a very honest and philanthropic scholar, its
president The association collected money from the rich people, asking
them to contribute ten dollars a year or more, with which they bought
rice and cloth and cotton for quilts. Ku handled the money, and a
monk at the Ankuo Temple was made treasurer in charge of records
and accounts. These people went about the countryside to investigate
cases of needy expectant mothers, and gave them presents of money
and food and clothing if they promised to raise their children. Su
Tungpo said that it would be a great pleasure if they could thus save ^
hundred children a year, and he himself contributed ten dollars pelf
year. He was acting in the best tradition of Buddhism.

It has always seemed to me that wherever the spirit of man lives,
religion comes to life again. Whenever the spirit of man dies, religion
also decays.